Back to the Balkans

Business seminar in Macedonia

Some months ago, I received an invitation from a company called Triple S Learning in Skopje, Macedonia to conduct a business seminar on Management, Sales and Personal Effectiveness.

Last Monday, I flew from San Diego to San Francisco, caught a ten-hour flight to Frankfurt, and then flew on to Vienna and Skopje in the South of what used to be called Yugoslavia, arriving at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Macedonia has been one of the poor countries of Southern Europe for many years. Now, it is aggressively seeking foreign investment by introducing a 12% flat tax, plus a series of incentives for new business development that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe to start a new business.

In the U.S., the debate about the flat tax has been going back and forth for many years. In 1995, I facilitated the Kemp Commission on Tax Reform in Washington. Our goal was to bring together the opinions of leading economists and businesspeople from throughout the country and consolidate their ideas into a single proposal for a flat tax for the United States.

Our final proposal was so good that, when it was rejected by the politicians, Steve Forbes took it up and ran for president in 1996 on this single issue.

Today, the flat tax idea is sweeping the world. Russia has a flat tax of 13%. Estonia has a flat tax, Lithuania has a flat tax, and several other countries are introducing the flat tax. To the amazement of the economists, under the flat tax, not only do people pay less, and more easily, but the government actually collects more money because there is less tax evasion.

The current proposals for a flat tax in the U.S. would exempt the first forty-six thousand dollars of income for a family of four and then charge a flat tax of 17% to 19% on all income earned above that balance, with few or no deductions allowed. You could fill out your tax return on a large postcard, as opposed to the forty-four thousand pages of the tax act that are currently strangling the U.S. economy, individuals and businesses.

We had a very successful seminar for 350 business owners and entrepreneurs in Skopje, Macedonia on Wednesday, November 28th. The next morning at 6:00AM, I flew to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, where we conducted another full day seminar for 550 Serbian Businesspeople. The people of the x-Balkan countries are eager to learn how to start and build successful businesses, improve sales and marketing, boost profits and achieve financial success. The audiences were open, responsive, positive and very enthusiastic.

My new friends at Triple S Learning – Dusko, Dragan, Igor, Teo, Marko, and Marija, are aggressively building a multi-national business training organization and doing a wonderful job. We went out for dinner on Tuesday night at a traditional Macedonian restaurant, with violin players, music and Macedonian wine. On Thursday night, after our seminar in Belgrade, we went to a traditional Serbian restaurant, again with wonderful food, wine, music, minstrels, singing and a lot of laughter.

At 4:00 AM Friday, November 30, I woke up in Belgrade, caught a 6:30AM flight to Frankfurt, flew to San Francisco, and arrived home in Solana Beach at 6:00 PM in the evening for a total of 22 hours of travel. Whew!

Even with the sub-prime meltdown, the American economy is still strong. We have low unemployment, and a growth rate of 4.9% in the last quarter, one of the highest and best in the world. The estimate is that 265 million dollars of mortgage loans will default over the next few months. But there are 15 trillion dollars worth of mortgages issued, and even the mortgages that default will not result in the complete loss of the underlying home value. It will merely decline by 20% to 30%. Life will go on. The economy will remain strong. As we go into 2008, the US economy is still the strongest and most powerful in the word, and will continue to be for many years to come.

Each year at this time, I make a decision that, “Next year will be the best year of my life!” I suggest that you make that decision as well. Say to yourself, and even write it down, “2008 is going to be the best year of my life!”

I’ll talk to you again soon.

Brian Tracy

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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